National One round-up: Gala upset Heriots’ title challenge

Biggar stretch into what increasingly looks like an unassailable lead in National One with big home win over Gala, while Highland coninue to fly the flag in the north

Gala defeated high-flying Heriot's Blues at Netherdale. Image: Alwyn Johnston
Gala defeated high-flying Heriot's Blues at Netherdale. Image: Alwyn Johnston

GALA’S defeat of second placed Heriot’s Blues on Saturday helped Biggar increase their lead at the top to a daunting looking 15 points in National League One.

On their day this season, Gala have shown they can be a match for any team in the division and they bounced back from a disappointing loss to Kelso last week to see off Heriot’s 29-21 at Netherdale. Tries by Robbie Irvine, Fergus Johnston and Ruairi Howarth, all converted by Polish internationalist Ross Cooke, put the Maroons 21-7 up at the break.

Howarth’s second try secured the four try bonus point, while Cooke kicked a penalty to put Gala fifth and dent Heriot’s title hopes. Stephen Martin, Louis Meynier and Dom Martin scored the Edinburgh side’s tries with Graham Wilson converting them all.

Last weekend’s Super6 reports:

Southern Knights put Boroughmuir Bears to the sword

Super6: Heriot’s shake off the rust to claim narrow win over Stirling County

Super6: Watsonians stretch lead at top with convincing win over Ayrshire Bulls

The two sides meet at the same venue this coming weekend in the Scottish Cup last eight and Gala skipper Euan Dods said:  “After a disappointing display at Kelso last week the squad had a few questions to answer and we feel we did that against a good Heriot’s side. We now need to refocus knowing Heriots are coming back to Netherdale in the Cup next week and will be looking to avenge this result.”

Biggar are now on 73 points from 16 games after they overwhelmed 10th placed Kelso at Hartreemill. Tries for the rampant hosts came from Euan Stewart, Mark Bertram, Ross Bradford, Robbie Orr, Richard Bassett, Rowan Stewart and Andrew Peacock, while Andy Jardine kicked the rest of the points in the 52-6 victory. Kelso had actually been 6-0 up early on thanks to two Craig Dods penalties.

Another side scoring over 50 points at home was third placed Highland. They controlled their match with Watsonians, coming out on top 52-7.

Highland had the four try bonus in the bag at Canal Park in Inverness by the 32nd minute, through tries from Stephen Murray (2), Jesé Nawacalevu and Rupeni Rokoduguni, with Scott Fraser kicking four conversions to take a 28-7 lead.

When Gordon Gregor and Seamus Ross came to the party with further converted tries it was 42-7 at half-time. After the interval Andrew Findlater and Mike Gordon scored unconverted tries and there was no more scoring in the last half hour on a day Watsonians will want to forget in a hurry.

The victory was an impressive bounce-back from Highland after last week’s loss to Heriot’s.  “As a group of players we dusted ourselves down and came back the Highland way,’ said try-scorer Rokoduguni. “We played some good rugby in this game and we are happy with the win.”

Watsonians – whose try was scored by Andrew O’Neill and converted by Kerr Stoddart – are down to eighth spot because Cartha Queens Park and Stirling Wolves are up to sixth and seventh respectively after wins.

Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 27)

Cartha’s match against Boroughmuir was moved to Lochinch from Dumbreck, but the home side remained focused and came out on top 23-18. Ryan Howie was yellow-carded after 12 minutes, but a Wayne Burrows penalty put them 3-0 up. Boroughmuir then scored two tries through Gav Welsh to go up 12-3, but Cartha scored bounced back with 20 points through tries from Joshua McPhail, Juan Phyfer and Anthony Lopez, with five points from the boot of Burrows. Callum Anderson kicked one conversion and two penalties which meant Boroughmuir took a losing bonus point back to Meggetland, but they are still 10 points away from safety in 11th spot.

Stirling Wolves lifted the ‘United Auctions Quaich’ against Ayr for the first time since it started to be played for in 2014. The Wolves won 28-12 at Bridgehaugh, with tries coming from James Gibson, Ross McKnight and Mikey Heron for the home side plus 13 points from the boot of Jonny Hope. Captain Dave Young and Seth Rae scored Ayr’s tries.

“It was a good performance, particularly in the first half scoring three tries,” said Wolves head coach Chris Faill. “We are delighted to get back to winning ways and hopefully we can use this performance to build from. The only disappointment was that we couldn’t score a fourth bonus point try.”

Dundee High are 17 points adrift from safety with just six league matches left, but showed that they remain competitive when being edged out 15-14 at fourth placed Melrose.

Aidan Cross and John Cox scored tries for the Borderers with David Colvine kicking five points. Dundee’s points came from a Kieran Scoular try and nine points shared between the boots of him and Fraser Mackay. They will be hoping that the bonus point they picked up here can help in their increasingly forlorn fight for National One survival.

National League Division One results

Gala 29 Heriot’s 21

Melrose 15 Dundee High 14

Highland 52 Watsonians 7

Cartha Queens Park 23 Boroughmuir 18

Biggar 52 Kelso 6

Stirling Wolves 28 Ayr 12

How it stands 

[lt id=”16″]

Super6: Southern Knights put Boroughmuir Bears to the sword

About Gary Heatly 462 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.